That prams and art are not mutually exclusive.

Book Review: Anonymums

This book came to me after a trip to the doctor. I’d had a headache for weeks, and went to the doctor sure I would be diagnosed with a brain tumour. I came away with a prescription for antibiotics and a general feeling of malaise.

Unsatisfied, I walked to our local bookstore with one book in mind: Anonymums. I opened up to the first page and knew I had to take it home. It turns out the brain tumour was all in my head.

The book begins:

There was something wrong with me. The realisation that there was something wrong with me had been creeping up on me for some time … I’d be out somewhere nice with my two kids … and my husband … Then the taunting would start ringing in my head again: Why aren’t you happy? What are you waiting for? What else is there?

Written by 3 anonymous Australian mums, Anonymums follows their journey over a 3 month Truth-or-Dare style shake up of their lives. Mum A is dared to get fresh with Santa by sitting on his knee, Mum B braves wearing hot read lipstick for a whole week and Mum C steps her personal grooming up several notches by taking a little trip south, to Brazil … Through their journey, they hope to get back in touch with their BC (Before Children) selves.

While the dares are fun and at times cringeworthy, the truths are stark and revealing. Right from the beginning the Anonymums use the veil of motherhood to speak of the fears and anxieties behind the white picket fence: as Betty Friedan described ‘the problem that has no name’.

The reality of motherhood is that there are times when your body, your personal space and even your pillow are not your own. It’s easy to get lost inside the family unit, even when you are a vital part of that family. Many women fear being “just a mum”, and simultaneously struggle to remember who they were Before Children.

Most mums would admit to feeling like this at some point. Your partner, no matter how sympathetic or understanding, will not get it. Only other mums ‘get it’. But not all mums will talk openly about it. Under the veil of anonymity, this book delivers not one but 3 women writing about it, with intelligence and insight, blow by blow.

On the topic of blow, nothing is considered taboo for these ladies, even the awkward topic of sex after kids gets a good going over. Anyone who has ever considered adding ‘Have sex’ on their To-Do-List will appreciate the frank discussion of mama-papa relations.

Anonymums is a witty, sassy read which deals with challenging issues of motherhood head on. A great Book Club book, or one to enjoy during naptime with a huge cup of tea, block of chocolate or glass of wine (or all three, if you’re that way inclined: no judgements here. I’m sure the Anonymums wouldn’t judge either.)

I would prescribe this book for any mum with a headache, a huge To-Do-List or children under the age of 5.

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13 Responses to “Book Review: Anonymums”

  1. yellow

    I wonder if there is a similar book written by Dads as men would talk even less about this than Mums would, just like their lack of discussion on their own well being. A bit like the breast cancer vs gesticular cancer situation where more men die than women. yet breast cancer is funded many times over that of gesticular cancer. Probably because women talk more, just like the book.
    Come on Dads, BE HEARD!

    • the rhythm method

      Good point Yellow, dads should talk about their Before Children, After Children lives. Some might argue their lives haven’t changed as drastically, but maybe there’s more to it?

      • yellow

        I would argue that both the mother and the father go through similar changes, without the obvious physical differences. There are greater differences with stay-at-home mummies (whom often choose this path too!) to the daddy as of course he resumes his job and thus a more normal social contact life. A stay-at-home mother lacks this and may crave this social contact more as time goes on. This is normal and hopefully by using childcare some of this would hopefully be remedied. The way a mummy might use the time the children are in childcare is then so important for the mummy too.
        Remember though that Daddy, although at work, may also have many stresses on him and then comes home and has more demands at the end of a long day so he may be tired too and have lots to write on this subject too!
        So the effects are different but depending on way the person handles them they might be of similar as both ultimately were single, held jobs and had no children before the partnership
        That is why it would be nice to hear more of what Daddys have to say on this issue.

  2. Ink Paper Pen

    You never fail to somehow post exactly what I need! Don’t know how you do it but this is precisely what I needed to read RIGHT NOW. I have just got home from a morning in the park with 5 other mums and I have to say the whole time I was feeling displaced and dare I say it, bored. It is a horrible feeling, knowing you should be grateful and happy for so many things and yet, there is something not right. I had vaguely heard of this book but had the wrong idea of it, for some reason. It sounds exactly what I need to read. Thanks for the recommendation…

  3. sannah

    This sounds like a great read, have just added it to my list. I think that a lot of us feel this way, if not all the time, at least some of the time. I would like to echo Inkpaperpen’s comment!

  4. Maxabella

    The ‘have sex on the to-do list’ thing seems to be a bit of a theme around the blogworld at the moment. I don’t get why it’s so damn complicated. Either get naked and just do it or accept that you’re not naked and you’re not doing it. Sex is definitely something that you shouldn’t think too much about!!

    This book is interesting – but I think blogs suitably cover this sort of ground. I don’t know if I’d need to read a whole book about it? x


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